Perforator, Smellie, steel, by Arnold of Smithfield, second half 19th century
A perforator was a destructive tool used to pierce the skull of a dead foetus. This was done to remove the foetus from the womb in pieces to save the mother's life. This example was designed by Scottish surgeon William Smellie (1697-1763). Smellie was the wealthiest and most influential man-midwife of his generation. He designed and adapted obstetric instruments. He also wrote a bestselling practical midwifery handbook. This perforator was made in Smithfield in the City of London by surgical instrument makers Arnold and Son.